Cyprus is an island of turquoise waters, mountainous terrain, and archaeological wonder. From lazing on white, sandy beaches, to hiking along the coastline, and exploring Byzantine architecture, there’s plenty to get up to on this stunning island in the Eastern Mediterranean. Check out this 5-day Cyprus itinerary for some inspiration on how to spend 5 days on this beautiful and varied island.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, but this doesn’t mean that you need excessive amounts of time here to truly see the sights. A 5-day visit should be a perfect amount of time to visit both the Northern and Southern sides of the island, exploring its vibrant and culturally diverse towns and cities, adventuring through its scenic mountains, and enjoying cocktails as the sun sets over its rugged coastline.
If you’re planning a trip to Cyprus, we’ve got you covered. Read on for a 5 day Cyprus itinerary, where we take you through a perfect schedule of activities and places to visit during the trip to Cyprus.
Day 1: Larnaca
It’s day one of our 5 day Cyprus itinerary and we’ve just landed on the island. First stop: Larnaca. The majority of flights to Cyprus land at one of two airports: The Larnaca International Airport and Paphos International Airport. As the larger of the two, it’s likely you’ll land in Larnaca, which is just 4km southwest of the city of Larnaca. A shuttle bus is available from the airport to take you downtown Larnaca.
This port city on the south coast of Cyprus is a brilliant place to spend the first day of your trip to Cyprus. Known for its palm-tree-lined seafront, buzzing bars, and quaint old town, there’s plenty to see and do in Larnaca to get your trip off to a great start. A short stroll of the city’s cobblestone streets takes you past many historic buildings.
The Church of St Lazarus is a must-see whilst in Larnaca. This 9th-century church, located in the town center, is one of the most remarkable examples of Byzantine architecture in Cyprus. Just streets away from the church is the Turkish Neighborhood of Skala. This is a great spot to get lunch, with many restaurants and cafes serving up delicious Turkish-Cypriot cuisine and traditional coffee – often with a beach view.
Once you’ve explored the streets of Larnaca, you have one or two options: either hit the beach or to Larnaca’s salt lake. If you’re after a post-lunch snooze on the beach, head down to Finikoudes beach. Slap bang in the middle of the town, this beach is certainly not hard to find! It’s one of the most popular spots in all of Southern Cyprus, and for good reason – this half-kilometer stretch of fine sand is lined with buzzing bars and restaurants, making for a lively atmosphere.
If you’re looking for somewhere a little more tranquil, head to Larnaca salt lake. Just a short bus away from the town center, this calm lake is a natural haven away from the bustle of the beach. If you visit during the winter months, you’ll likely come across groups of flamingos, ducks, and other birds enjoying the lake’s calm waters. During the summer months, the lake tends to dry over, leaving a truly brilliant white surface that is well worth a visit.
Once you’ve spent your day exploring Larnaca, its beach, and perhaps the nearby salt flats, head back into town for dinner and drinks at one of the many traditional Cypriot restaurants. Here, make sure to try the Koupepia – a traditional Cypriot dish of vine leaves, stuffed with expertly seasoned minced meat, vegetables, rice, and herbs. Simple yet delicious! After a long and action-packed first day, you’ll be ready to find somewhere to rest your weary head. Luckily, there are plenty of brilliant places to stay in Larnaca, ranging from affordable apartments to luxury hotels.
Day 2: Cape Greco National Park
The second day of our 5 day Cyprus itinerary takes us to one of the island’s most beautiful natural areas, Cape Greco National Park. This is under an hour away from Larnaca by bus or car and makes for a truly spectacular day out. With plenty of nature trails, coastal walks, sea caves, and secluded beaches to discover, you could easily spend a good few days in Cape Greco National Park – but it’s easily explored in just one day too!
Fans of hiking are spoiled for choice at Cape Greco National Park, with 9 different walking trails to choose from. Hike along the network of nature trails lined with miniature pine trees and juniper, stopping to admire the spectacular cliff views. One of these nature trails forms part of the European Long Distance Trail E4, running from Cyprus to Gibraltar. Then there’s the Aphrodite nature trail which stretches 2 km along the North-East coast of Cape Greko, which leads to the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite. There’s no better place to take in the sheer beauty of the natural surroundings that Cavos viewpoint – also known as the Monument of Peace – a cliff-top spot offering panoramic vistas of the stunning turquoise waters.
Cool off after your hike in one of the many small beaches and coves within the national park. The coastline has lots of interesting and historic rock formations that carry their own sense of magic. For example, Love Bridge is a rocky arch bridge of natural origin, with one edge stretching into the crystal clear, turquoise, and emerald sea from an elevated coastal plateau.
It is believed that if you kiss while standing in the middle of the naturally-occurring bridge arch and make a wish, your dreams will come true. This is a truly romantic setting, particularly at sunset, when the orangey-pink of the sky compliments the glittering coastal waters. Another highlight of the national park is Konnos Beach. This 35-meter-wide strip of fine, golden sand is one of Cyprus’ most picturesque beaches. With sun beds to lie on and water sports options, too, it’s a brilliant place to spend an afternoon!
Day 3: Paphos
The next destination on our 5-day Cyprus itinerary is the old city of Paphos. This city on the southwest coast of the island is only an hour and a half away from Larnaca by car. Having been inhabited since Neolithic times, Paphos has a rich and fascinating history with plenty of amazing archaeological treasures to discover. It has several sites relating to the cult of goddess Aphrodite, whose mythical birthplace was at Old Paphos. New Paphos is a modern city that incorporates the harbor, and the ancient ruins of tombs, fortresses, theaters, and villas at Paphos Archaeological Park.
The marina and castle are certainly worth a visit, but the real jewels of the city are the Tombs of the Kings and the Paphos Archeological Park. Located to the north of the city, the Tombs of the Kings, are huge burial chambers dating from the Hellenistic and Roman periods. You could spend your entire day wandering in many of the excavated tombs, inventing stories about the lives of the powerful people that now lay to rest here! After perusing the Tombs of the Kings, head to the Archaeological Park, which is located right by the harbor. This museum has some truly amazing collections of mosaics dating back to Roman times.
Round off your day of historical wonders in one of Paphos’ many brilliant seafood restaurants, before hitting the hay to get some well-needed rest before the next day of your action-packed adventure!
Day 4: Kyrenia
Next stop on our 5-day Cyprus itinerary: Kyrenia. Cyprus’ northernmost hotspot, Kyrenia, is one of the smallest and prettiest of the island’s districts. It covers a large portion of Cyprus’ northern coast, with a great range of beaches, mountainous towns and historical wonders to explore. However, if by this stage of the trip, all you feel like doing is flopping on the sand, we recommend visiting Alagadi Turtle Beach. Approximately 19km east of Kyrenia, this unspoiled sandy beach is home to a small sea-turtle conservation and research center, where you can find out about turtle conservation. After a long day lazing on the sand, head to the nearby family-run St Kathleen’s Restaurant, where you’ll be served an abundance of grilled fish, meat, and meze – all for a reasonable price.
Stretching for about 160km along the coast, Kyrenia Mountains make for a more adventurous fourth day of your Cyprus itinerary. There are plenty of hiking trails throughout these mountains that promise unbeatable views and the chance to visit some of the island’s historical monuments. One particularly beautiful stretch of the path takes you to the Kantara Castle, the Buffavento Castle, and the St. Hilarion Castle – all within a few kilometers of each other. Put your best forward and explore these sites on foot to properly take in the ravishing landscape, vibrant vegetation, and historical relevance of the area.
Day 5: Nicosia
The fifth and final destination on our 5 day Cyprus itinerary is Nicosia: the island’s bustling capital city. Known as Lefkosia by the Greek-speaking population and Lefkoşa by the Turkish speakers of North Cyprus, Nicosia is a city divided: the border between Northern and Southern Cyprus cuts through the city’s old town.
Nicosia has a long and checkered past: having been continuously occupied for over 4,000 years by Romans, Crusaders, Ottomans and the British before the arrival of the Turks in 1974. Nowadays, it is a thriving and vibrant city, where the Mediterranean and the Middle East meet.
Start your day south of the border, on the Greek side, with a visit to the Cyprus Museum. Here, you can peruse archaeological finds from the Neolithic to Byzantine periods, including the Aphrodite of Soloi statue, which dates back to the 4th Century BC. Nearby, the old city’s 16th-century Venetian walls include the Famagusta, Kyrenia, and Paphos gates. Inside the walls, a marble mausoleum sits next to 19th-century Faneromeni Church.
Once you’ve had your fill of the archaeological wonders on Nicosia’s Southern side, head to the Turkish part of town, north of the border. The vibe on this side of the border is immediately different, with a look and feel that some suggest is similar to Istanbul. There are many beautiful examples of Ottoman architecture to discover, such as the Selimiye Mosque, which was adapted from a former Christian cathedral back in 1570.
The Belediye Pazarı is also well worth a visit. This vibrant covered market is a hotspot of vibrantly colored vegetable stalls, traditional clothing, and many other local delights and delicacies, making it a brilliant place to pick up souvenirs at the end of your trip.
Is Cyprus safe to visit?
Cyprus is generally a very safe place to visit. The country may have a past of bitter conflict, but the island is now a peaceful destination that welcomes tourists to both its Northern and Southern sections each year. Crime against tourists is not common in Cyprus, but the usual common-sense rules apply around remaining vigilant when out and about and trusting your instincts.
Is Cyprus expensive?
Generally speaking, Cyprus is an affordable country to visit. Food and drink, accommodation, and travel costs tend to be fairly reasonably priced on the island, though it is by no means the most budget-friendly destination in the med.
Is it easy to cross the border between Northern and Southern Cyprus?
Crossing the border between Northern and Southern Cyprus is generally a stress-free experience. Getting between the two sides of the island has become very relaxed since the opening of the border in 2004 – all that is required is that travelers carry a valid passport. The majority of border points are for cars and other vehicles. There is only one pedestrian crossing point in the capital city of Nicosia (Lefkosa), which is named Ledra Street.